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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Joy, Fun, Seasons In The Sun

Just in case you are ready to shread-y…
20 Weeks Of Summer & The Chart O’ Cash

93 Responses to “Joy, Fun, Seasons In The Sun”

  1. Geoff says:

    For the most part, I think you make solid predictions for the summer, though I think your top four are all pretty inflated, especially Madagascar.
    If DreamWorks would swallow their pride and move it into June, away from Longest Yard, they could get to $200 mill. But Adam Sandler and Chris Rock (he’s in both) are going to take a big bite out of the opening on Memorial Day Weekend.
    I know that everybody is expecting huge things out of War of the Worlds, but for some reason, I don’t think that Cruise or Spielberg are the draws they used to be. Minority Report pretty much did half of what I thought it would do. And I don’t think Cruise has brought a film significantly over $100 mill domestic in years, since Mission Impossible 2. I think Paramount is expecting Independence Day numbers, but should be happy with The Day After Tomorrow numbers.
    Domino grossing over $100 mill is a ballsy pick and I am sure that New Line will market the hell out of it, but this just feels like a film that will get bumped to September, just like True Romance did, all those years ago.
    Bad News Bears definitely has blockbuster sleeper potential and I think it will probably be Paramount’s most profitable hit of the summer.

  2. bicycle bob says:

    its easy to say but it all depends on how good madagascar is. bad animation doesn’t bring in the crowds. kids can smell a rat quick. the list of ani bombs is long and not distinguished.

  3. lazarus says:

    The trailer for Madagascar was horribly unfunny, but there’s lots of cutesy chatacters for kids to latch onto. Plus, as David stated, there aren’t any other animated films for it to compete with. People have to take their kids to something, and with Star Wars being PG-13 that’s one less option (for good parents).
    I’m a little wary of the $415 for Revenge of the Sith as well…while I feel it will do better than all of the naysayers seem to be predicting, that’s a lot of money. Considering The Phantom Menace pulled in $431 largely due to its huge success with kids, I don’t know where you think this $415 is coming from. You’re counting on A LOT of repeat viewing. While this one may go over well with the fans, is the average viewer going to see it over and over? It will certainly pass Attack of the Clones but $400 just seems too high for the sixth film in a series, regardless of the quality.

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    Wait, are you saying that only a bad parent would take their child to a PG-13 Star Wars?
    Dave, as much as you love discussing box office (as do I and I’m sure many others around here), have you read Open Wide: How Hollywood Box Office Became a National Obsession? Any thoughts? If you’ve already talked about it I apologize, but I just read a review of it in The Atlantic and it sounds excellent.

  5. Geoff says:

    Good point, Lazarus. Episode III is not going to bring in the kids needed for $400 million. I know it will pass $300 mill, but am skeptical that it can do much more than that.
    People really seem to forget that Star Wars is not the biggest game in town, any more. LOTR, Shrek, and Spidey are now the highest grossing series, running. (And I include LOTR because you know The Hobbit is on the way).
    And while I am jazzed to see it, I highly doubt that the writing quality will be much improved from Episode II, which was very difficult to watch and hard to listen to, at times. Those scenes with Hayden were just death to watch and it was not even all his fault. If the quality of this episode is not much better AND of course, it’s much darker, I don’t see how it can come close to Phantom Menace grosses.
    But what do I know? I sure didn’t see either The Passion or Shrek 2 making close to what they did, last year. Although I don’t know any body else who did, either.

  6. JKP says:

    Ditto what Geoff said about Madagascar, unless Dreamworks can find the funny in this, I can’t see it doing better numbers than Shark Tale.
    I would expect The Island to make more with the FF striking out, it will have the action market corner in a still busy July. Also because this summer is not too action heavy (mostly cross over movies like WofW, Batman) it should have an open oppurtunity. Would would think Dark Water would do Ring 2 numbers with a lower opening weekend, but maybe play a little longer in a horror free couple of weekends. HHGU smay make more, and to my estimation is the only movie of the summer that could become a surprise hit, all others are pretty certain. Also, Unleashed would have better possibilities in August, but Jet Li can open a picture, and if it opens at 10 or more, it can push past 30 million (That of course depends on if Focus sells it or drops and runs). Even if Pink Panther is awful, it will open at more than half your and shrink after that, making it a 35-40 million disappointment.

  7. GrrBear says:

    I think it is reasonable to expect ‘War of the Worlds’ to approach ‘Independence Day’-type numbers, although I am also puzzled as to why Minority Report didn’t do better at the box office. As for SW3, a PG-13 rating is exactly what it needs to get that $415 million or more. It tells people that the movie’s got more of an edge to it than the first two chapters, which makes fans like me irrationally hopeful that SW3 won’t suck. If it doesn’t suck, then because expectations set by the first two prequels were exceeded, SW3 should see plenty of return business.

  8. Joe Straat says:

    The problem with Minority Report was A.I. A lot of the general population REALLY hated it (When I worked as a projectionist during A.I.’s run, 10 or more people walked out per showing on opening night, most of them during Flesh Fair about halfway into the movie. I don’t really blame them. Spielberg, you’re great, but NEVER TRY TO FILM DEATH METAL EVER AGAIN!). After that, he brought another steel-coated sci-fi movie, and a lot of people got cold feet. Sad, really, because Minority Report was much much better.
    War of the Worlds will be more commercial, but it’s hard to tell how much. It’s been well established Paramount, as of late, can’t SELL anything. I mean, advertising a retro movie like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow as “downloading into the future!” What…. the…. hell? And does anyone remember ANY advertising for The Manchurian Candidate remake?
    There’s one teaser for War of the Worlds which didn’t have much impact, a Super Bowl spot which was better, but it was no torching White House (say what you want about it being spoilerific, but it got people into the theaters). I’d say around 200 million until I see a trailer that impresses.

  9. Terence D says:

    War of the Worlds should do great business. But ID4 was in another league. Pure popcorn. With a great teaser campaign. Will be tough to beat out even with Cruise and Spielberg.

  10. Joe Sullivan says:

    Frankly I think “Kingdom of Heaven” will do much better than $87mill. I think that one’s in the low $100’s. That trailer is wowing everyone and this is one where the reviews will help some.
    I agree that while I will be seeing War of the Worlds opening day. I don’t know too many other people jazzed about it. It’ll break $150 mill, but not much more.
    I’ll bet “Bewitched” is seen as the bomb of the summer. The trailer sucks, a friend of mine saw a sneek peak two weeks ago and says it’s pretty lame.

  11. Stella's Boy says:

    After Troy and Alexander, people are probably getting sick of the sword-and-sandal epics, but I’m guessing that Kingdom of Heaven will perform much more like the former. It certainly looks great to me.

  12. Brett B says:

    It’s Hitchhikers Guide to the GALAXY! Not Universe. I really think this movie is being underestimated. I think it can definitely make more than 48 mil, and I wish I could say it would make over 200 mil, but that is obviously way out of the question unfortunately. If they finally start to just get the damn word out there about this, then it could at least make 80 mil.

  13. Lota says:

    I am not surprised that Minority report didn’t do better. The audience booed openly at the ending…perhaps the word got out that a cheese ending was slapped onto a PK Dick tale.

  14. Stella's Boy says:

    I liked Minority Report a lot until the ending, which I really did not care for at all.

  15. Mark says:

    What theatre are you going to where they boo the endings of movies? Thats passionate.

  16. Joe Sullivan says:

    I didn’t think Minory Report was ruined by the ending…just on how many minutes it took to get there. Had it been all action I think it would have been great.
    I see the argument that everyone is sick of the huge CGI battle between two armies, ala Troy and Return of the King. But what the hell else are people going to see that weekend? Monster-in-Law? XXX 2? Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy?

  17. bulldog68 says:

    Fantastic four? Under a 100million? Are you fucking kidding me? The fan boys will be out in droves. They’re looking for the next Xmen, the next spidey. Even if it sucks, on pure momentum alone it will get past hulk’s brooding numbers.
    David you need a new brand of reefer.

  18. Eric says:

    Bulldog, while I agree that Fantastic Four will probably end up better than $100 million (albeit not by much), I think you over-estimate the cachet of comic properties.
    It seemed like comic adaptations were a sure thing a few years ago– it’s easy to look back and see a few comic movies that came out around the same time and which all made a lot of money. But X-Men and Spider-Man made money because they were good, not because they were based on comics.
    There have been too many Hulks, Daredevils, Elektras, Punishers, and Batmans 3 and 4. Think of big-budget comic movies as sharing a trend pattern with computer animation. The first few may have made a few extra dollars on novelty value, but the market has become overserved and the value has been diluted. (Poland has been saying this about CGI since Shark Tale and Robots, and probably before.)
    A brand name will get your foot in the door– see Hulk’s opening weekend– but the movie has to stand on its own to be a success. And Fantastic Four looks awful.

  19. Martin says:

    Hitchhiker’s should do at least $50 mill, but it doesn’t feel like a big hit to me. Part of that is the casting, plus I’ve watched some scenes from it.. and it just feels a little too slow and low budget to get any mass audience appeal. Plus none of the actors are recognizable. The name will make sure it does OK though.

  20. lazarus says:

    I still say that Hulk was a big success considering how “adult” the material was treated. And while many action fans felt let down, I thought Ang Lee’s visual grammar was really great in the way he tried to emulate comic book panels.
    I’m not saying this is an overlooked masterpiece, but it’s far from the piece of crap that everyone seems to describe it as. The first Tim Burton Batman was all set decoration and no substance yet it seems to get a free pass from fanboys.
    Fantastic Four looks completely retarded; people unfamiliar with the comic (and it’s not NEARLY as recognizable as Spider-Man or Hulk) are going to think it’s an X-Men rip off. While Singer (and 20th Century Fox) made some great casting choices with X-Men and tried to at least get some known faces in the mix, the studio’s biggest grab this time is Alba, and not to sound like an asshole, but Ioan Gruffudd isn’t exactly a name that rolls off the tongue. There’s nothing here even close to the coolness of Wolverine. Why would anyone bother? It’s going to get bad reviews, bad word of mouth, and will be LUCKY to finish with $100 million.
    I would laugh my ass off is somehow Hitchhiker’s manages to top out above Four, but of course they also did a shitty job marketing that to middle America.
    Really, the only sure thing this summer (for BIG numbers) is Episode III. War of the Worlds being clearly less intellectual than Minority Report or A.I. should do well, but haven’t people seen this crap before? How many times can you watch the world get destroyed, by floods, aliens, whatever? With all the intelligent Sci-Fi that’s getting made, why would Spielberg resort to unearthing this tired material? Aren’t we past it? I hope it tanks.

  21. L&DB says:

    First off; good parents took their kids in DROVES
    to see LOTR. Which received a PG-13 for roughly
    the same reasons Revenge has garned the same rating
    (Oops; there goes Kelar’s head). Kids will see
    Revenge because kids today, just as in the past,
    can handle beheadings, limb removal, and a molten
    man due in large part to those LOTR films. Thank
    god for PJ and his ability to get those kids over
    such trivial things.
    However, there is only one real FRANCHISE in town
    with enduring popularity, and it goes by the title
    STAR WARS. Spidey is a comic book movie. LOTR has
    already been forgotten by many or those who have
    not forgotten have moved on. Shrek, kids film, and
    do people really give a shit about those two films?
    Really? I would wager against as should anyone who
    visits a local used DVD store. SW has endured and
    continues to be the top dog. No bitchy as fan boys
    or biased ass critics can kill it. This film should
    shut those two groups up, and end the film part (
    for now) on a very high note. Just remember; she
    had the idea first.
    Now, besides SW, how on earth can people be slagging
    FF the way they have? Do some of you forget that
    the X-Men (you know? THE MUCH HERALDED AND LOVED
    X-MEN!) received the EXACT SAME SORT OF BOLLOCK
    LIKE SLAGGING BEFORE IT HIT THEATRES? It even had
    to endure a smear campaign all over geek sites because
    some folks just thought it really sucked. Now, 5
    years later, the FF somehow has to go through this
    again?
    Come on; have some faith in Ben Grimm action. This
    film cannot be worse than the first Spider-Man or
    that Punisher film with Dulph Lundgren. If everyone
    wants to have serious EXPECTATIONS towards this
    film, then of course the film will fail in your
    eyes. Since expectations when it comes to this
    type of film are a sucker’s game. The HULK somehow
    has a huge fan base now, but before it came out.
    Many had it DOA just as they are doing now with the
    FF.
    Just because the trailer did not tickle your ass with
    a feather. Does not exactly mean the movie will suck.
    IF it does; call me a dumbass. If it does not;
    SUCK IT!

  22. Lota says:

    fantastic four fans are the comicbook roaches. They’re everywhere and multiplying and definitely the #1 annoyance factor at comic book conventions which means Fantastic Four, no matter how crap it is (and I am not saying it is at all) will do better than 100 million. There isn’t a movie so anticipated except maybe Iron Man for the following year.
    Attack of the Clones was so bad I wanted Future Darth to be ‘taken out’.
    Biggest mistake the Star Wars people made was wiping out Darth Maul, a character who could have injected some interest into the tedious episode II (& likely)III. I will have to see Episode III…it’s a compulsion.
    re, Miority Report being booed. It was booed in London. If there isn’t misery and death at the end, Londoners aren’t happy, excepting Bridget Jones Diary(the first one).

  23. L&DB says:

    The slagging of episode 2 makes absolutely no sense.
    What should I expect from people who do not get that
    EVER *** **** ************* LOVE STORY ON FILM HAS
    DIALOGUE LIKE THAT IN EPISODE 2! The best I can
    figure; no one got that Anakin is a dick. He is
    a kind and compassionate guy, but a dick nonetheless.
    Some many people want friggin Han Solo in the form
    of Anakin, but missed that Obi-Wan easily out cools
    Solo any day of the week. Go ahead; complain about
    episode two. That love story pays off BIG TIME in
    Revenge. Hell without it there would be no reason
    for any of the events in Ep IV to take place. Since
    the love gets the ball rolling.
    Lota, not only do you hate the Cubs (which should
    be a mortal sin in the Catholic Church) but you
    seem totally oblivious to the point of all off
    Sidious’ apprentices up until Vader; they were
    there to set things up. They were pawns of their
    master because he always wanted Anakin. Sidious
    knew Maul would die as he knows Dooku would one
    day face a similar fate. All of those Sith Apprentice
    and Grievous are there to establish ANAKIN AS THE
    MAN.
    The above; thus the reason I hate SW discussions.
    Since no one takes a damn moment, outside of fans
    of the god damn trilogy, to think about the subtext
    of these films. Again, people love the flashy
    flashy (blowing shit up and emotional fireworks).
    Yet miss out on the subtle strokes that make a film
    with a rich subtext great. Different strokes I guess.
    We are all indeed entitled…

  24. David Poland says:

    If I had the slightest inkling that FF would be as good as X-Men… that Tim Story was a Singer-level director… that there were major charasmatics in the cast… that The Incredibles didn’t steal much of the thunder of the raw ideas and singularity of the imagery…
    If I gave the slightest damn when The Thing says, “It’s Clobberin’ Time,” I would be estimating much higher.
    Charlie, Wedding Crashers and Bad News Bears – besides WOTW and The Island – will crush the film unless it is really special in some way. Ben Grimm was my personal favorite character growing up. I am looking to invest. But so far, I haven’t seen anything close to exciting. Sorry.

  25. L&DB says:

    I have no problem with the estimate there David. My
    problem stems from all of this hatred due to one
    US released Teaser Trailer. I bring this up because
    to many the first X-Men trailor sucked as well.
    No one really cared about Singer or his involvement.
    The only cool point it had going for it; Jean-Luc
    Picard. It had bad word of mouth from one trailer
    until it came out. Shockingly winning the weekend
    to the dismay of the Brandon Douche Chills” Grays
    of this world.
    FF and X-Men even have VERY SIMILAR TEASER TRAILERS.
    Each has rock/techno pumping through, each has the
    characters looking up or down at something, and each
    got lauded as sucking. My point being that if everyone
    now LOVES the X-men. When at first many of those
    same people thought it would suck. Is it not remotely
    plausible that the FF has been suffering from the
    same sort “SHITTY TRAILER” residual effect?
    Not one of us really knows if Tim Story (and the FOX
    execs now working with him to edit the film the way
    the see fit; possibly) and his team can pull this
    film off. Yet it seems sensible at least to me to
    give the film a chance before writing it off due to
    one “shitty trailer.” A trailer I love inconsequently.

  26. jeff mcm says:

    The problem with SW II & III is the simple fact that, unless some magic happens in Ep. III, I simply don’t believe that the whiny, petulant blond we’ve seen is the same guy as the badass in the black mask with James Earl Jones’ voice. He still looks like too much of a Backstreet Boy. It will do business between Clones and Phantom.
    Fantastic Four will not open nearly as big as Hulk – they did a much better marketing job hiding the disappointment then. Here the crap is already out front for the public to see, and there isn’t a “from the director of Crouching Tiger” tagline for them to use.

  27. jeff mcm says:

    Re: War of the Worlds…it’s obviously Spielberg’s response to Sept. 11, and it’s box office will depend on how close to the bone he decides to go. The more removed from reality and escapist, the more money it’ll make. I hope he goes out on a limb and makes something edgy even though that’ll diminish it’s take, just as AI annoyed people even though, in my opinion, it’s a great film.

  28. Lota says:

    Saying Episode II and ‘love story’ in the same breath means you are now a thought criminal, L & DB.
    and I don’t hate the Cubs, I just dislike intensely Cubs fans. Go Mets.
    re FF.
    Generation Xer comic book readers get turned off pretty easily by comic book movies that don’t look great (and that’s usually correct), but I still think the youngsters have that thing called Vain Hope. So even if FF gets a rating more grim that Porky’s Revenge, I bet they’ll be there in locust-like swarms.

  29. The Interpreter says:

    Open Wide — I think I may be one of the few people who has read the book. It uses the weekend that T-3, the animated clunker Sinbad, and Legally Blonde 2 opened to analyze the phenomenon of box office. It was better than ambien at putting me to sleep. The writers are respected reporters for one of the trades, but the book was boring. The subject is still worthy of a good book. Peter Bart does a better job — but the subject is a hard nut to crack. The elusive “great” book is still out there. The title worked was fun, but the direction was too focused on a weekend that didn’t really matter and the sources, unfortunately, didn’t really “Open Wide” enough to make it a page turner that broke news or any new ground.

  30. Chester says:

    Someone needs to ban this asshole for pure stupidity. To say that Star Wars is anything but a joke at this point is downright insane. And Fantastic 4 looks possibly even worse than Punisher. Here’s a penny, go buy a clue.

  31. lazarus says:

    The box office take of the last two films would serve to illustrate that people are still interested in Star Wars, and had Spider-Man not come out in 2002 you probably would have seen closer to $350 mil. Episode 1 was the second highest grossing film of all time until releases of Episode IV and E.T. were allowed to add to their tallies.
    On Rotten tomatoes, Episodes I & II have a 62 & 65% fresh rating. While not stellar, they’re still considered “fresh” and are above a hell of a lot of other films. So even the critical consensus isn’t as bad as people would like to believe.

  32. L&DB says:

    A Mets fan Lota? You are more a glutton for punishment
    than any Cubs fans. Hate us all we want; at least
    WE ARE THRIFTY (That Mo Vaughn deal so worked out
    for you guys!) Sorry Lota; you are a friggin mortal
    friggin sin in my world. Just because it you did not
    like it. Does not mean it was not there.
    Jeff, babe, let me explain something to you. Any
    man, be it one’s cloaked in a large life support
    suit or not, that chokes people at will. Could
    easily be seen as a petulent dick. Again, Anakin
    is a dick. On what realm of existance has this
    become a stretch that he has become Vader? Good
    god Jeff you provide some of the strangest comments.
    Vader has and always will be the same type of dick
    as Anakin has been protrayed as being. Yeah. Real
    mature people go around killing experience Imperial
    officals. Sure.

  33. Eric says:

    I know plenty of people that I would consider “petulant dicks,” but I’ve seen none of them progress into murderous imperialists. It’s not some natural progession from one type to the other.
    Something more exists in the type of person that turns into a Darth Vader. And Hayden Christianson doesn’t have the chops to act it, and George Lucas doesn’t have the skill to write it.
    In Episode III you will witness some truly bogus and unnatural character development, as Lucas attempts to squeeze the whiny brat into the murderer’s armor.

  34. jeff mcm says:

    It’s just not the same character. Hayden C. is a boy and Darth V. is a man and there’s a huge cognitive dissonance in there that leads you to think that Lucas has successfully bridged (or will bridge) that gap.
    The simple fact is that the role called for a badass and Lucas instead decided to go for the heartthrob casting.

  35. bulldog68 says:

    I believe that War of the Worlds will get past 300M. The last summers have proved that you could have mega blockbusters coexisting, shrek/Spidey2/H.Potter of 2004, and Nemo/Pirates/Matrix of 2003.
    I think prognosticators are all erring on the side of caution not wanting to predict that it will be a huge blockbuster summer, but as the american public has proven time and time again, they show up disaster flicks when there is a brand name attached to it.Will Smith got I Robot to 160M and there was no major money shot in that flick. Dependent on the quality of this film, and there is a great chance of that with Spielberg & Cruise at the helm, it could even challenge Independence numbers, especially if the aliens are cool.
    I also think that Bewitched might be another Stepford Wives. It looks uninspired and uneventful. I hope Will Ferrell saves it though Kicking & Screaming looks to be great fun. The families will show up droves for this one.
    Kingdom of Heaven has the masterful Ridley Scott behind it, but it will have to be out of the park fantastic to do great business. After Troy, King Arthur and Alexander, don’t know whether another sword and sandal can conquer the box office. Oh well…Rise a knight.You can’t learn these powers from a Jedi.

  36. JckNapier2 says:

    The comparison to the marketing campaign of X-Men and Fantastic Four is worthwhile, and where they deviate is likely what makes the difference. X-Men came out with a rushed, confusing (to newbies) and uninspiring trailer, much to everyone’s charigin. Then, less than a month later, they got their act together and released a longer, and FAR SUPERIOR trailer that explained the concept, introduced the characters, and used more sweeping musical scores. After that, everyone was excited again (it’s a great trailer for the ages, in terms of raising excitement and hope where before there was doubt and fear). Fantastic Four came out with a weak teaser, but the difference is that every other preview has been about on the same level of quality. Also, X-Men shocked everyone by breaking a record at the time with $57 million (sigh – remember when anything over $40 million would make you spit out your drink… it was so recent and yet so long ago) and eventually took in $155 million (the drop off was odd as word of mouth was very positive, from everyone). Of course, the problem is, X-Men only cost $75 million, so it was highly profitable. Although one could argue that Fox was smart to reign in the budget, I have always believed that adding another $20 million or so for a few more quick action set pieces would have increased the repeat business factor and pused it over $200 million. Instead, Fox stupidly spent an extra $20 million on Daredevil’s budget to undue the gritty, street level feel of the film, thus undermining both the quality and eventual profitibility. If Fox had released the director’s cut of Daredevil in theatres, without any silly fx fixings, it would have made $150 million… discuss. Anyway, sorry about the digression, Fantastic Four might have actually cost about $155 million (thanks to reshoots and general inflation, and everything else that makes movies cost so much), so even a similiar pattern would mean they would still be relying on international and video money to make a profit. It’s a similiar situation, but with a few crucial differences.
    Scott Mendelson

  37. Angelus says:

    I cannot wait for Episode Three to come out. Expecting big things.

  38. Lota says:

    The director’s cut of Daredevil was far better and made better sense and I am sorry I saw the theatrical version. It would have been more successful with fans had That been released, definitely.
    If FF is costing twice what Xmen cost…yikes.

  39. L@DB says:

    Chester, I should be banned for stating an opinion? How opened mind of you; you ruttin asshole. Now crawl back into your hole or may Spam Dooley show you why he feeds his people.
    Lota, even a Mets fan, who defends Daredevil in some small way. Merits some sort of dap. SO dap for you; even though your bloody Mets unleashed a vodou curse upon us in 1969.
    Eric and Jeff; you fail to understand the character of Darth Vader. You think Anakin just all of a sudden stopped being a whiny brat? No. He’s still that inside of that suit until his kid snaps him out of it.
    If you had paid attention to the trailer. You would understand that Anakin decides to become Darth Vader due in large part to something brought up in Episode 2, that of being able to control life. Darth Vader is not a bad ass. Sure he appears that way but that’s just your misunderstanding of the character.
    The guy wants to be able to control LIFE. HE wants to be able to make sure someone he loves does not die due in large part to someone who he also loved dying because he did not have the power to save her. You two are taking just one facet of the character, his persona, and saying that the persona matches the character. When Vader screams in Revenge in mortal agony. You will see how wrong both of you really are.
    You are entitled to your opinions and your perceptions, but they are just out step with the realities of the way the character has always been.
    What would you do Eric? If given the chance to be able to control; LIFE? I bet you would do just about any damn thing possible.

  40. Jeff McM says:

    L&DB: You shouldn’t be banned for stating an opinion, you should be ignored for having dopey opinions.
    Yes, I saw Clones and I understand Vader’s character. So he’s still just a whiny brat inside the mask? Very new agey of you. I bet Hitler was the same way, just wanted to be loved and to do what he thought was the right thing.
    All Vader ever talked about in the original trilogy was power. He didn’t want to make the universe a better place, he was the ultimate bad guy. You and Lucas seem to have a very shallow understanding of character, if you think a tragedy can be wrought out of a guy who didn’t spend enough time with his mother before she died.

  41. KamikazeCamel says:

    “Fantastic four? Under a 100million? Are you fucking kidding me? The fan boys will be out in droves. They’re looking for the next Xmen, the next spidey. Even if it sucks, on pure momentum alone it will get past hulk’s brooding numbers.”
    But the thing that gets movies over 100million isn’t the die hard fans, its the ordinary Friday/Saturday Night movie goer who goes purely on the trailer and posters. Both of which aren’t much cop. And Jessica Alba? Iaon Guffard? Tom Evans? Michael Chiklis? or whatever their names are…
    anyway.
    I think Hitchhikers will do better, Madagascar worse (i think it’ll be a success just not to $260mil).
    I don’t think Batman will get to $235million, ditto for Domino and XXX2. I think The Wedding Crashers has a chance to do really good based on that trailer (and, man, it’s so odd to see so many Home & Away (Australian soapie) stars making it big. Melissa George (Amityville, Alias), Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) and of course, Naomi Watts who was in it for a short time.
    Bad News Bears = 2005’s Freaky Friday… i think it very well could be.
    War of the Worlds I think has a great chance at getting to $300. It’s word of mouth will no doubt be better than The Day After Tomorrow and so it’ll play bigger and longer. Plus, July 4.
    Dark Water will probably do similar numbers to the recent horror movies I think. $20mil open and around $55mil finish. Although if it gets a killer trailer and pin down the creepiness of the original…
    House of Wax I think will do WAY better than $28mil. I mean, only Kingdom of Heaven is opening that weekend alongside it and what are bored sex-starved teenagers gonna go see? The movie with the hot young stars being murdered. I’m thinking it’ll end somewhere in between Dawn of the Dead remake ($58mil) and Texas Chainsaw remake ($80mil).
    Pink Panther may have a decent opening weekend $13mil? but will die soon after. And seriously, Duece Bigalow 2? egads…
    Who even knew there was a Doom movie being released in a few months?
    I also agree with the grosses for CHarlie, Longest Yard, Cindarella Man (although I stick it around $100mil), The Island and most of the others.
    Undead is finally being released over there? Geez, I saw that aaaages ago. It is a decent Aussie horror comedy. Wasn’t anything to write home about.
    I think the most curious title of the Summer (box-office wise) is Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That could seriously go either way.

  42. L&DB says:

    Jeff, if I have dopey opinions, then you have the
    market covered with dumb ones. You assumed you
    understood the kind of power Vader was talking. You
    thought it to be the ruling of galaxies and people.
    Bzzzzzz, wrong. The power Anakin always want was
    control. Control over the lives of the one’s he
    loved to make sure they DID NOT DIE. Control over
    death in a way a certain Sith Lord with soon promise
    him on the 19th of next month.
    The power to control LIFE! That’s the power he was
    always talking about until Luke told him of a greater
    power than that of the Dark Side. It’s all revealed
    on the 19th. Until you know what I know. Let us
    just assume you are uninformed and save this debate
    for later.
    And Jeff; you sort of stumbled upon the major similarity
    between the Jews and the Jedi. It has nothing to do
    with being new agey. It just has to do with what
    one person wanted; the power to save the woman he
    loved. Yet; true life after death can only be found
    in the force.

  43. KamikazeCamel says:

    Can we please leave all the Star Wars talk until it actually comes out!
    (however, Surely Revenge of the Sith is the frontrunner for the Best Visual Effects Oscar already. With no Spiderman or Matrix or whatever in sight… just thought I’d mention that)

  44. lazarus says:

    There’s no guarantee that Episode III will even win an effects Oscar. The effects in Episode 1 were truly groundbreaking, the greatest ever put on film, but they lost to the gimmicky, flavor-of-the-month bullet time in The Matrix. Just because people hated Jar Jar Binks they shouldn’t have penalized the geniuses over at ILM. Episode II was also deserving of the effects Oscar but was shafted by the embarassingly shabby effects in Spider-Man. Why? Because they thought the film was better.
    I could also make a serious case for Episode I deserving costume design and art direction awards, but perhaps the biggest robbery was not giving Ben Burtt a sound effects editing Oscar. Aside from Walter Murch the guy is the biggest revolutionary in the field.
    Maybe if Episode III is well-received they’ll give it some love but I wouldn’t be surprised if King Kong gets it. Which is sad because WETA will never, never surpass ILM. Yeah Gollum was impressive but ILM did it first, and there’s a lot of effects in LOTR that were underwhelming.

  45. Martin says:

    Considering the fact that an Oscar, any Oscar, can be used for promotional purposes by the winner in a deceptive way (Armageddon, Oscar Winner…. for sound design) I think that the Academy now considers both the quality of the film in addition to the quality of the technology. Rewarding a steaming pile of crap, like Episode 1, simply for effects could potentially leave a black mark on the Oscars. So they went with the better effects movie (even if the effects werent as good). Until Lucas makes a movie that members of the Academy think is worth a shit, he’ll keep getting shut out at the Oscars. Great effects in the aid of a horrible story will never win out.

  46. L&DB says:

    The FX Oscar has more to do with the stupidity of
    the members of the Academy. Less so with the story
    of the film because if that were the case, then how
    did Return of the Hobbit win an Oscar? They just
    bought into the hype of the FX being so GRAND in
    the LOTR that they missed how subpar they have been.
    WETA does not even rank as highly as ESC for god’s
    sake.
    Revenge has more FX shot in it than any other movie
    this year. If ILM does not win again, then there
    is something rotten at the Kodak Theatre.

  47. Dan R% says:

    L&DB, while I agree overall with what you say about Episode II, I do not buy what George Lucas said about it being in the old style romance vein of dialogue – because when Padme turns to Anakin and says, “I love you. Truly. Deeply. Madly…etc” I cringe. Nice sentiment, but far too cheezy, even for star crossed lovers. But I do think a lot of people missed the point that Anakin was a spoiled kid from the get go. Qui Gon saw potential in a talented kid, encouraged it but wasn’t firm enough…And Obi-Wan obviously made a better big brother than father figure, since in movie world they’re probably supposed to be about ten years a part in age. Neither ever gained the full respect of Anakin because he felt that they belittled his abilities (Obi-Wan more so). Enter Palpatine, a nice old guy who encourages Anakin to explore what his power can bring. Sounds like a great guy to me, so I’ll go follow him and see what he can do for me. But I digress…it’s been talked about enough all over the web.
    Anyhow, I can’t wait to see this film. I’ve listened to the soundtrack a few times now, and John Williams does a great job of tying together musical themes etc so that at least in one respect the film will be a great bridge into ANH. I am skeptical that it’ll reach $415 million. I think it’ll pass ATOC, but if it breaks $400 mill, then I think it might just pass TPM too. This by all accounts is the Star Wars prequel everyone was waiting for. I know it’s rated PG-13 and all that jazz (probably be PG for Canadians like myself) and I’ll take my eight year old sister to it. She can’t hardly wait for it. She prefers the OT because of C-3P0 and R2-D2, and at the end of the day isn’t that one of the main reasons everyone loves Star Wars?
    Anyhow, no major Jar Jar scenes (at least that’s a hope), mutilations and darkness abound? I think a lot more people are interested this time around cos of those factors. The commercials and trailers are intense, and as LOTR proved, people like intense semi-kid friendly darkness.
    Switching gears back to another fave subject of mine, Kingdom of Heaven…Gladiator took in $187 million…I think Ridley Scott returning back to the game he helped reinvigorate could equal about $125 million…if it’s as good as some are saying, DVD sales should be brisk and Oscar may come a calling…Fox is obviously following the early summer Gladiator like opening and hoping that it will pan out in that regard. Anyhow…that’s it from me.

  48. jeff mcm says:

    Only a blind person would argue that Lucas hadn’t laid the groundwork for Anakin’s/Vader’s character background. My complaint is merely with how poor the quality of the writing and performances have been.
    With that I will stop arguing with high school kids.

  49. L&DB says:

    The poor writing and acting are of course subjective,
    but if you hate Hayden as an angsty teen. I would
    say; that was quite effective work. More on this
    later…of course.

  50. Lota says:

    Star Wars III has taken over the breakfast of Champions: Kellogg’s, and ALbertsons has so graciously displayed (i.e. Payola) all Star Wars food items. I got a real “light-up Saber spoon” in my box of Corn Pops today. It works.
    On the back of the box is says: “Start your day with real Jedi action”. Heh heh. If the Jedi were really getting Any action, would they all be so grumpy? Doubt it.
    I couldn’t help noticing the stills of Ewen & Hayden on the box. Their hair not only looks perfectly coiffed, but highlighted as well. The hair and garb-style looks a little too blow-dried Duran Duran (and does McGregor have Shoulder Pads?!). Han SOlo looked like he was wearing AquaNet in the first Star Wars, so maybe they are returning to this “winning formula”.
    There is about 6 months of Star Wars-sponsored food onslaught left. I wonder how much this is adding to the budget.
    Master Lota

  51. L&DB says:

    Yup Lota. They are taking it back to, now? So
    everyone in Revenge will have trippy ass retro/
    present day haircuts. Captain Antilles, by far,
    has the most retro hair in that entire film.

  52. Chester says:

    L&DB, throughout all five of the “Star Wars” films thus far we’ve been told – not shown – that Anakin Skywalker was a great Jedi before he succumbed to the dark side of The Force. The problem is, Episodes 1 and 2 seemed intent on proving that we were hoodwinked. Those two films demonstrate quite clearly that, although he possessed superior powers, there never was any genuine greatness within the character. He was little more than a bratty, obnoxious kid in a souped-up go-kart in Episode 1. And he was nothing more than an endlessly petulent, whiney, irritating teenager in Episode 2.
    While that may be a solid foundation for a true-to-life villain, from a dramatic perspective it’s not the least bit interesting. In a traditional tragic arc, the audience witnesses a hero fall from greatness. The problem here is that there simply cannot be much of a fall (maybe a stumble at most) because the Anakin Skywalker we’ve been forced to endure was never great to begin with. (And no, I’m not going to take the Jedi Council’s word for it that he was.)
    That’s one of the reasons why pretty much everyone but you agrees that, while he may paint a pretty picture, George Lucas has utterly lost his ability to tell a simple narrative tale. And that’s also why most of us no longer have anything invested in this trilogy beyond our knowledge and pleasant memories of the better story that is to follow. While I’m still hoping for the best, I see little reason to believe Episode 3 will amount to anything more than another 2+ hours of state-of-the-art CGI wallpaper. What a waste.

  53. bicycle bob says:

    hes lost his ability to tell a tale, chester? luckily its only ur opinion. after episode three comes out and ur the first person to see it, i’ll take ur apology for mr lucas.

  54. Terence D says:

    I think the first two prequels were a great disappointment. They started too slow and it seems like a big missed opportunity to show a lot of great things in this world. We had a great chance to see this Anakin character and I think they ruined it with this love story. We are supposed to see the greatest Jedi. The most reckless, cocksure. All we have seen is whiny and petulent. They have to hit a home run in Ep 3.

  55. GdB says:

    God Please, People, let’s make sure there’s spoiler warnings on any EP 3. Discussion. I’m really trying to stay spoiler free, good or bad, for the last George Lucas’directed Star Wars movie ever.

  56. jesse says:

    I feel like I’m in a minority in that I really, really liked Episodes I and II, but not quite with the fierceness/worshipfulness of the Star Wars faithful.
    Maybe it’s because the way I saw the original trilogy is sort of odd– I saw them all about once (maybe once in full and then occasionally in parts) when I was a kid, but didn’t really see them the nerd-requisite multiple times till I was a teenager. So I hadn’t been waiting for Ep1 for my whole life, but I was very excited from the moment it was officially announced.
    Maybe this is why I don’t see the newer films as being *all* that different in tone and style from the originals. There’s a certain freshness in the original trilogy that the new films can’t recapture, I’ll grant that. I’ll grant any number of weaknesses Lucas has a writer and a director; I don’t revere the man, not the way I think someone like) say Spielberg is enormously talented. I think of Lucas as more of a tech guy.
    But I just *enjoyed* the hell out of EpI and EpII. I love the details of the different worlds, a lot of little funny/silly moments, the action sequences, Ewan McGregor, Watto, Sam Jackson… the last hour or so of Ep2 in particular just thrilled me. I think most complaints about the film (“bad” acting, too talky, whatever) are wildly exaggerated.
    Good point, lazarus, about both the box office and reviews for the first two movies. They’re movies to which a lot of movie fans feel superior about two months after the fact. SW fans have been accused of basically forcing themselves to like the movies via repeated viewings; I think the biggest detractors of the new ones build it up in their heads as being worse and worse. Yes, there is clunky dialogue in the “love story” parts of Episode II. There’s clunky dialogue in episodes four through six, too (of course, there’s also that delightful sub-section of Star Wars “fans” who insist that only eps IV and V are actually “good”… which makes me wonder, if you only like two movies out of a five-film series, maybe you just don’t like the series as much as you think).
    And Anakin in Ep1 is now characterized as “obnoxious” and “bratty”… now, you can say that the performance wasn’t incredibly strong, but when is Anakin in that movie anything but a sweet little kid?
    When I read super-negative stuff about these movies, I often have a twinge of “hmm… maybe that’s right… maybe I’m just not seeing it.” And whenever I actually *watch* the movies, in whole or in bits (HBO was playing Ep2 seemingly every day for awhile), I’m struck not by the flaws I missed, but by how much I enjoy them. I don’t think not feeling disappointed with them makes me an idiot or a slavish Star Wars fanboy. Hating the new Star Wars movies isn’t a badge of honor.

  57. Stella's Boy says:

    You’re right, hating the Star Wars movies is certainly not any badge of honor. Just as people who don’t love them shouldn’t be criticized for it. Different strokes for different folks. I’m amazed that certain individuals (bi-bob) who despise the Matrix sequels simultaneously defend Episodes I and II, which are mind-numbingly boring, full of hilariously awful writing and acting. That’s just my opinion. I’m not bashing fanboys or those who love them. They just do nothing for me. How boring it would be if we all loved the same movies.

  58. bicycle bob says:

    who has spoiled anything here? its not like the movie is out. we all know the basics anyway since we know the children have to saved, obi wan and yoda flee and anakin turns into vader somehow.

  59. jesse says:

    I actually feel similarly about the Matrix sequels (not that it matters) — that they didn’t really get a fair shake, based on the slightly inflated reptuation of their predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; I like the first one the best. But I think there’s so much more craft in the Matrix or Star Wars sequels than in 90% of sci-fi/action/fantasy movies that my jaw drops when they, of all movies, are what some critics single out.
    It’s interesting that the whole Matrix rules/Matrix disappoints/Matrix sucks cycle took less than five years total, whereas for Star Wars took about 23, 24 years… I guess our culture just moves faster.
    What I still can’t fathom is preferring the LOTR series to the others (not to turn this into an AICN-style franchise war! heh). I know people LOVED the LOTR movies, and I enjoyed them well enough, but I had so much more *fun* at (say) Matrix Revolutions or Episode I. If LOTR was less “fun” but had more substance, then OK, I’d get it, maybe even prefer it. But I think LOTR is as shallow/deep as either Star Wars or The Matrix, just a lot more solemn about it!

  60. Mark says:

    First of all Jesse your point is way off target. No one has said one thing blasting Star Wars, Empire or Jedi. The people making coments have focused on Phantom and Attack. Hold them separate from the original. The Matrix is just three movies. The two sequels were awful. Star Wars had two sequels which may have topped or at least came close to the original.

  61. Chester says:

    Jesse, I think people respond better to the “LOTR” cycle because of its humanity (despite all the Hobbits, Dwarves, Wizards and Elves). It’s about a group of people, most of whom start off as a bunch of nobodies, who rise to the utmost heroic challenges when called upon to save their communities. Of equal if not greater importance, it’s a tale whose length and pacing allowed the characters to really grow and all of the relationships to deepen right before our eyes. It’s a film saga where the CGI really served the story, and not the other way around.
    I think the same was true of “Star Wars” Episodes 4-6. But IMHO the same cannot be said about Episodes 1 and 2, nor about the last two “Matrix” sequels. When boiled down, those films are all about surface sheen and dazzle, which is why they ultimately left so many audiences emotionally detached and numb. (I must admit, you are the first person I’ve ever heard describe those movies as “fun.” “Cool,” maybe. But “fun”? More like “a chore.”)
    It’s easy to claim, as L&DB does, that the majority of us just didn’t “get” those movies. But, come on – putting aside all of the techie and philosophical mumbo jumbo, how hard is it to “get” stories and characters that are so shallow at their core?

  62. L&DB says:

    Chester, you are making nothing more than subjective
    statements about LOTR, SW, and Matrix sequels. LOTR
    has essentially faded into obscurity because people
    have either moved on or they just do not give a
    fuck anymore. The CGI in that story did not serve
    the story. It worked the sameway in the Matrix
    sequels and the SW prequels. You just do not like
    those last four movies. Thus your bias statements
    about the way CGI has been used in those films.
    An Chester, I just have a hard time with people like
    yourself, with your clear biases, slagging four films
    you clearly have not taken the time to think about.
    People like Bob, can say they are pretentious or
    bullshit, but that means absolutely nothing when
    in reality all four of these films have themes and
    stories going on, that you and many others have
    clearly missed.
    People just get all upset when they are told that
    “they just do not get it.” As if it’s an insult
    to their intellect. When it really comes down to
    this; people who like/love something have a better
    appreciation than those who do not. Why everyone
    on the net misses this point remains a mystery to
    me.

  63. Chester says:

    L&DB, I only have time right now to address your last point, where you absurdly and childishly stated, “it really comes down to this; people who like/love something have a better appreciation than those who do not.”
    That’s like saying people whose favorite meat dish is a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder or whose favorite wine comes in a tin can have a better appreciation than those of us who know junk food when we see it.

  64. Joe Leydon says:

    “It really comes down to this; people who like/love something have a better appreciation than those who do not.”
    You know, this is almost too easy. I mean, I guess the folks who like “Plan Nine from Outer Space” or… Never mind. Suffice it to say, Girlie Man, that you’ve made one of the all-time stupidest statements ever written on this blog. (Ranking somewhere close to “My name is Spam Dooley.”) It will come back to haunt you for generations to come

  65. L&DB says:

    Chester, the problem with that would be? There
    are few definitives but you seem to believe that
    everyone, you and some people, can determine why
    SW and the Matrix sequels suck. I just disagree
    with that assessment because it by and large ignores
    the human capacity to be spiteful towards something
    they dislike. Yes. We are all objective in the
    light off things we do not like. Sure we are.

  66. L&DB says:

    Laydon, come the fuck off it. You read like an asshole
    more times a day than even Mark and Bob. If I made
    a stupid comment in your eyes. Good. At least I
    do not read like some C-level critic asshole. Who
    believes his rank amateur status makes him a major
    voice in modern American criticism.
    Of course, it all comes down to objectivity. That
    statement, might not have had any in it.

  67. Joe Leydon says:

    Girlie Man: I’m having too much fun here at the Nashville Film Festival to waste time swapping insults with you. Besides: You’re doing such a great job making yourself look silly that I don’t have to bother. (Guess your mom or grade school teacher never got around to telling you the one about how resorting to vulgarities and obscenities in an argument is the first sign that it’s too late, you’ve been outclasssed.)

  68. L&DB says:

    Laydon, I guess your mother forgot to teach about
    people using words to make an analogy to an earlier
    point. Thus, the whole “I guess that statement
    had not objectivity to it.” Of course, you are
    an old white man. Not like you or your kind have
    ever had any class associated with them what so
    ever. Enjoy Nashville Laydon. Truly the shittiest
    city in all of TN.
    And Spam Dooley should be all over you due in large
    part to your clearly racist statement above. I guess
    your mother taught you to associated race with
    class. How wonderful that must have been.

  69. jesse says:

    Chester, I guess I never really saw the LOTR characters as all that well-defined. The hobbits start out good and get… more good. Braver, certainly, although it seems like they take the long way ’round on that one. Gandalf starts out wise and… dies. And comes back. And remains wise. The most dynamic character of the series (in the films, anyway; I haven’t read the books) is Gollum, who was most fascinating in Two Towers.
    None of the other LOTR characters have much in the way of personality. Even though Lucas is hardly the ideal actor’s director, Ewan McGregor still gets in more personality/character with little gestures or line readings as Obi-Wan (“I’m going to get a drink”) than Elijah Wood (cool as his post-LOTR choices have been) can in 9+ hours of LOTR (“*expression of frightened awe*”).
    I love Hugo Weaving’s Smith in both Matrix sequels, and I have great affection for the sleazy side characters in Star Wars (Watto, Jabba the Hutt)… those worlds just seem so much more alive to me, and far less monotonous. My enjoyment of LOTR is weighed down by the relentless nobility of (most of) the characters. It’s not smarter or more human than other sci-fi/fantasy movies; it’s just slower! And it’s certainly not better-written, just more dry (Lucas and the Wachowskis aren’t good writers of dialogue, but I think *that* goofy dialogue fits in more with the pulpy style of those series).
    I guess I think of it this way: Star Wars, including the prequels, captures my imagination in such a way that I can imagine seeing (say) Obi-Wan or Yoda or Mace Windu or even Padme and Anakin off having other interesting/entertaining adventures. But I would have absolutely no interest in most of the LOTR characters in their pre-trilogy or post-trilogy lives, as my interest in them seems entirely situational.
    The exception is Bilbo Baggins, and even with him, it’s more that I “know” he went on a bunch of cool adventures before the trilogy begins, not that I find him an interesting or likable character.
    Here’s what I mean with my apparently trailblazing use of “fun” to describe the maligned sequels/prequels: if I went back to when I first saw (or even rewatched), Episode I, Matrix Revolutions, and any of the Lord of the Rings movies, and could somehow tally the number of times I laughed, smiled, or felt exhilerated, LOTR would come in dead last.

  70. L&DB says:

    I personally love the LOTR films. When Frodo and
    Sam are not on the screen. Why ROTK decided to
    focus on those two and not Aragorn and his Posse
    continues to baffle me. But PJ did not find those
    scenes “fun.” Unfortunately.

  71. Chester says:

    Jesse, Bravo for that well-written, comprehensive, thoughtful response to my earlier posting! I can’t say that I’m in any way sold, but maybe that’s where it comes down to personal taste and where we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Still, great job!

  72. L&DB says:

    Of course we should agree to disagree, but we all
    know that never works on the internet. Here’s hoping…

  73. Barry says:

    LOTRs was about those two faggots relationship, if you couldnt see that your a fuckin idiot and should have your movie-going license revoked for sheer stupidity. (still allowed to see Bay movies though as long as you sit in the handicapped section).

  74. Joe Leydon says:

    Girlie Man: So what gives with playing the race card? How pathetic. For the record — I neither know nor care what color you or Spamster happen to be. Class has nothing to do with color, and everything to do with… well, class. Trying to turn whatever I have said to or about you or anyone else, joking or otherwise, into some kind of racist-informed remark is really beyond the pale or beneath contempt. You have crossed over a line, and you now cease to amuse me. I will no longer address you, directly or otherwise, or respond to your comments. Well, except to say that Nashville is a lovely city, and Al Gore appeared personally at the festival this weekend to give an award to an indie documentary. Al Gore — now THERE is someone with class.

  75. L&DB says:

    Here are the facts Joe:
    1) Girlie Man is a sexist comment. You are insulting
    me through a show that you have called a “Girl’s Show.”
    That’s just your first offense.
    2) Classless comments prove you to be an elitist.
    We live in the US. Where we at least try to not
    have class lines that look like a Kaste system. It
    does not always work that way, but your comments
    are nothing more than an elitist. Which brings us
    to…
    3) If you live in the South. You should know better
    than to say something like that. You should have
    some sense, and know to what group that statement
    refers. It’s racist plain and simple.
    Keep calling me a Girlie Man, but at least I have
    not revealed myself to be a sexist, elitist, and a
    racist in fell swoop. Do not try to put this on
    me. When clearly you are the one who has several
    problems with many a group.
    And Al Gore has no fucking class. That douchebag
    represented this state for years. Yet, he bailed
    out of living here, and moved full-time to Washington.
    Harold Ford Jr. has class Al Gore cannot even
    fathom nor would he pull a bitch move an give up.
    But you are the one without class Joe. Classless Joe.

  76. lazarus says:

    I also wanted to say to Jesse that you really hit the bullseye with your last remarks. While I enjoyed the LOTR trilogy immensely, I agree that Star Wars has a Fun Quotient that will assure its longevity over all its competitors. Yeah, there was some emotional depth in LOTR. But people will seek out family dramas and well-done RomComs for that type of thing. If you want your Sci-Fi with a little Robin Hood in it, Star Wars is going to satisfy like nothing else.
    The Matrix was a great film, but I felt on both of the sequels that the Wachowski’s heads has disappeared up their own asses. The difference is that Lucas always had an idea where he was going with his story. The Matrix seemed to paint itself into a corner and became a parody of itself. I’m also surprised at your criticism of LOTR’s writing, which gets a free pass from a lot of people. Jackson & Co. had the benefit of well-thought-out source material, so any credit they deserve is that of editing. And the dialogue, whether it’s from Tolkein directly or by Fran Walsh/Philippa Boyens, is as you said dry and pretty cheesy. To be frank, I don’t find the character development in the novels themselves any better.
    The difference, and this is an important one, is that Jackson is better at directing his actors, at least the ones that need the extra guidance. In Star Wars, the instinctive pros like McGregor and Neeson put in great work (and are brilliant at going beyond the dialogue with their non-verbal acting), but the younger actors, even fairly seasoned ones like Portman, are left with often awkward or “off” line readings. It bothers me when people criticize Portman, Lloyd or Christiansen, because in certain scenes or with certain lines, they nail their characters perfectly. To me it’s clear that Lucas is too impatient to wait for every line to be delivered optimally, and that’s where the deficiency is.
    One final comment, and this is a bit intangible, but with LOTR it just seems too spelled-out for you. There’s not much to fill in mentally. With Star Wars people have a irrepressible urge to know more about all the characters and what happens to them in-between the movies or when they’re off camera. Lucas knows that half of his saga is what has been created in the imaginations of its followers. Being an adaptation of a classic work and sticking to it so faithfully, the LOTR trilogy remains a pleasurable memory, but not something breathing and alive, Hobbit prequel in the works or not.

  77. L&DB says:

    Of course Joe, we could just apologize to one another,
    and make John Lennon happy…
    Laz, good points, but Lucas is a fine director. Taking
    time with actors not always a good thing. Ridley
    Scott does not full around with shots. It’s about
    economy, not about making actors happy. Lucas saying
    “faster and more intense” is not a bad thing. Since
    he wants to capture a style of talking and emotion
    seldom seen in film’s today. I believe the man
    has a certain style in mind for these films, and his
    direction deals with that style.

  78. bicycle bob says:

    L is D and B pissed off u have a man crush on joe leydon? ur feelings and thoughts betray u

  79. Terence D says:

    The in fighting between these two really takes away from the film discussion. Can’t you two pick a story that no one responds to or cares about? Have a little class on here and stop acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.

  80. Joe Leydon says:

    Did I call Bob a teddy bear? Sorry: I meant to say Rottweiler. Just scratch him behind the ear, or rub his tummy, and he’ll be happy. Of course, he might also bite your arm off, but those are the chances you take.
    Speaking of dogs: I guess we can expect the announcement for a remake of “The Doberman Gang” any day now, huh?

  81. lazarus says:

    L&DB, I’m not saying Lucas isn’t a great director, at least from a visual standpoint. He has a better eye for composition than Peter Jackson, possibly even Ridley Scott in my opinion. But if you think that his way of directing actors is a good thing you need to have your damned head examined. Some of those line readings are embarassingly off, and someone with more patience or technique with these certainly competent actors would get it right.
    Yes, there is a certain style Lucas is trying to emulate, but Kirschner was able to do that while maintain quality performances as well. It can be done. I loved Episodes I and II but I can still see where they should have been better. If you can’t even acknowledge this glaring flaw, you sound completely unobjective and shouldn’t be surprised when people criticize your point of view so heavily on here.

  82. bicycle bob says:

    hey joe, bark for me will u. stop scratching.

  83. GdB says:

    When it comes to acting in a Star Wars movie, what nobody seems to appreciate is that the advancement in technology (especially on those films)almost defines a need for a new style of acting. Or actors need to adapt their techniques, to fit with the environment.
    Because there is so much green screen, there is almost nothing to play off of. Or even worse, no real actor to play off of, especially if one is playing against a digital character. I can’t imagine anyone at Jake LLoyd or Portman’s age in Phantom Menace being able to pull off a convincing performance under such technical conditions.
    Acting in the prequals is like doing a Brecht play with the hokiest, ‘on the nose’ lines ever. Not to mention the difficulties of having an actor match the energy in a scene with a character to be put in later. Or even give a convincing performance when it’s a tech guy reading the lines of the digital character that you’re playing to. Actors need something to react from, the actors make their emotional choices in a natural manner by listening to the person they’re sharing the scene with. Many times the voice actor doing the digital character hasn’t even been cast yet; so the actor on set has no one else to really play off of.
    One could also argue that this new technology makes need for Directors to change how they direct actors. Giving them more of a theatre style of direction so their energy will match the digital characters. Or having real actors on set to read for the digital characters (I think Serkis was on set for Gollum, which might’ve made the difference there) so the human actor can have someone to naturally play off of.
    Point is, this new technology is affecting every area of filmmaking. Including Acting. People that don’t understand acting, have very little idea how acting under the conditions on a movie like the prequals is in many ways uncharted territory for even our most seasoned pro’s.
    Lucas should’ve taken more time with his actors, it’ll be interesting to see what transpires. Since the Ep.III preview shows some genuine emotion. But I still argue that Directors and Actors are still finding their way with this new technology.

  84. Mark says:

    Forget the talk about Lucas and actors. Its tired. What he should have done was brought an A list director in for each one of the three. A Spielberg, a Fincher, a Tarantino, etc.

  85. Chester says:

    GdB, sorry but your very long Star Wars acting analysis had virtually no factual basis. Ask any naysayer about the Star Wars prequels and they’ll tell you that Hayden Christianson and Natalie Portman’s most laughable scenes were in fact the romantic ones where they played off each other, not a green screen or digital performer. The same held for Jake Lloyd in his scenes with Portman and his mother. It certainly isn’t true that the criticisms focused on these actors’ scenes with Jar-Jar or Yoda.
    Moreover, accomplished actors should be able to acclimate to any environment. It’s not like a movie set or a theatre stage is ever a natural setting.
    Finally, IMHO the absolute worst thing that any actor could do in these CGI settings is give a Brechtian, artifice-filled performance.

  86. bicycle bob says:

    look back to the first 3. did u have any “love” scene more than one line of dialogue? anything between han and leia was a glance, a sarcastic line, a look. they didn’t play in fields and get deep with each other. the story took them. it wasn’t forced when they fell for each other. the anakin love thing is forced.

  87. jeff mcm says:

    Also regarding Lucas, while he knows how to provide visual spectacle, he has a weak eye for composition and visual sense. He hardly moves the camera at all. Take away the spaceships and aliens and his films are boring to look at, whereas directors like Ridley Scott and Spielberg can make dust flying around in a room exciting.

  88. Mark says:

    Lucas doesn’t have the quantity those guys have. Tough to take almost decades off then get behind the camera again.

  89. GdB says:

    Yeah, can’t argue that one on the romantic scenes. What I meant when I used Brecht, is that like in a Brecht play, their are almost minimal to no set/surroundings to play off of. Just big empty space. But you’re right, that doesn’t have anything to do with how crappy the love scenes were.

  90. bicycle bob says:

    this one better be like the first 3. action, some comic relief, good story telling, bad ass fights.

  91. Terence D says:

    How can it not be great? I just think it will end up being too short. Look at all the stuff Lucas needs to cram in this one because he dropped the ball on One and Two. Anakin has to turn bad, kill all the Jedi, the Clone Wars have to end, we have to find out who Darth Sidous is, Yoda has to get to Dagobah, Obi Wan has to kill Anakin and lead to Vader, the twins need to be born and saved, etc. A lot to do in two hours. My thinking is Phantom was a waste of time. We could have started with Attack as the first prequel. Only thing we saw in Phantom was meeting an 8 yr old. We could have started out in Attack with him as a teenager. A teenager who is reckless, cocky, full of himself, and gifted.

  92. Mark says:

    I hope its a home run. But I have to show caution with Lucas here.

  93. Terence D says:

    Have some faith in Star Wars. We will all be rewarded.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin